Andriansyah MK MK itibaren Poliantho 692 00, Yunanistan
Hard to believe this precious coming-of-age novel came from the author of Cloud Atlas, but the man is clearly a style chameleon, and in this novel, he chooses to re-inhabit his / our tortured adolescence and channel the frustrations and incomprehensible worldview of a too-smart-for-his-classmates 13 year old boy. Certainly I could identify with precocious Jason Taylor: I'm pretty sure I was once chased around by bullies, could count my pubic hairs on two hands, and was utterly clueless around the girls. But for some reason, I couldn't love this novel. Something about writing from the perspective of a 13 year old came across as false and grating, even though, in many ways, the circumstances and events rang true. It was also structurally uninteresting -- also a surprise turn after the brilliant architecture of Cloud Atlas. It reminded me of Tobias Wolff's memoir. It's like a false memoir, but written at the time of events rather than reflecting back through time. Each chapter is like its own short story from a boy's life. Plot-wise, it feels lacking, or maybe just a little too predictable. Boy overcoming awkward adolescence. Boy dealing with parents fighting and ultimately splitting up. The book didn't offer me anything new. Of course, Mitchell can write: it's a snappy read and can veer downright poetic at times. I'll probably go back to the Mitchell well, eventually. A fine palette cleanser after 2666. Now I could use something with a little more meat on its bones, thanks.